Crock Pot Baked Beans & Kielbasa

I loves me some baked beans. There’s something about the sweet flavor, the instant protein rush of taking in all those beans…just the sheer yumminess. Some things are definitely comfort food, and (before the kids nixed it) we used to have baked beans somewhat frequently during the summer. Of course, I wasn’t making my own beans – I was popping the top on a can of Bush’s or some other brand, since it was infinitely easier than making my own and sitting by the stove for a few hours.

Recently, I reached a point where I crazily thought that making baked beans and kielbasa would be something the kids would finally embrace. It’s beans! They (sometimes) like beans! And kielbasa! They love kielbasa! (Feel free to put on Bill Cosby’s “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” routine here, to get the appropriate tone of voice.)

Alas, the kids gave this one a meh rating ONLY because dd just can’t deal with things being in sauce or mixed or touching or OMG THERE ARE FOODS NOT BEING SEPARATED BY MILES OF SPACE. As I recall it, ds ate it well enough, but he’s a bit dubious about beans, so this really ended up being more of a me-and-dh kind of meal. I have to say that’s entirely THEIR LOSS. This not only came out well on night 1, it also reheated beautifully. So, if there are leftovers: fear not! Put ’em in the fridge and reheat later in the week and all shall be well.

Also worth noting, this is possibly veganizable if you can get smoke flavor or a bacon flavor that doesn’t have any meat in it and you substitute the turkey kielbasa with a vegan sausage of some kind AND you have a vegan solution for Worcestershire sauce. (I know that sounds impossible, but vegan cooking requires resourcefulness and persistence, and it’s often quite yummy in its own right.) You could probably also meat-it-up with a beef or pork kielbasa, if you’d rather go in the other direction. I prefer the turkey kielbasa for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lower fat grams per serving and the greater likelihood that the flavor of the sausage will work with (rather than over top of) the other flavors.

Crock Pot Baked Beans and Kielbasa

As saucy as you wanna be…

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 8-10hrs on LOW (but can go 11-12 on LOW); 4-6hrs on HIGH

Serves: 4-6


8 oz uncured, uncooked bacon

1 pkg (typically around 1lb) turkey kielbasa

three 15 oz cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp dry mustard

1 cup maple syrup (I use grade B, but you can use grade A)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp powdered ginger

1-1/2 cups water

Make It Happen

1. Coat the inside of a 4-5qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the crock pot.

3. Cut the kielbasa into 1/4-inch coins and add to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

4. Add the beans to the crock pot. Stir to combine.

5. In a bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Then add them to the crock pot and stir to combine.

6. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10hrs (or easily up to 12hrs) or on HIGH for 4-6hrs.

Crock Pot Cheesy Beefy Chili

Sometimes, you want the same old comfort food…but not quite the same. With that in mind, I present a twist on a recipe I posted previously: Cheesy Chicken Chili. This redo came out of dh’s desire for some BEEF UP IN THIS JOINT, which made for a rare “beef twice in one week” for me. I’m not anti-beef, but I just don’t eat a ton of it. I could give up red meat entirely and not mind, but chicken and fish…well, that’s a whole other story.

Anyhoo…dh wanted beef, and I wanted something that was in the “stick to your ribs” category, so I suggested that we take Ye Olde Cheesy Chicken Chili recipe and beefify it. The good news is that it worked brilliantly. It had a nice flavor, the beef was insanely easy to shred (far easier than the chicken breasts, as a matter of fact), and it’s one of those recipes that takes no time to set up and no time to deal with. This is ALWAYS a win in my book, since I’m a big believer in not getting so fancypants with the crock pot recipes that you essentially nullify the convenience of using it during the work-week.

Do you have to use the specific beans I list below? Nope. The issue is that the great northern beans from the chicken recipe won’t stand up to the beef, so you need beans with a little more oomph and flavor of their own. You may also be able to dial back the salsa a little, but I wouldn’t go less than about 16-20oz of salsa. Given the heft of this particular meal, it can go fine in a bowl of its own, or it can go on a plate (as seen below), with chips, a soft tortilla, rice or whatever you choose to use as an accompaniment. Also note that I didn’t add the corn that’s used in the original chicken recipe, either; it seemed like that would get completely lost with the beef, so I put the corn on the side (in this case, it’s Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Scene).


Cheesy Beefy Chili

It’s beeftastic!


Prep: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 8-10 hrs on LOW or 4-5hrs on HIGH, plus 20 mins on HIGH

Serves: 6-8



1-1/2 lbs top round steak (or other boneless beef that’s not just a complete layer of fat)

24 oz salsa

15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz shredded cheddar (or cheddar/jack) cheese


Make it Happen

1. Spray the inside of a 4qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Add a small amount of salsa to the pot, to coat the bottom, then add the steak and the remainder of the salsa.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10hrs or on HIGH for 4-5hrs.

4. When the initial cooking time is up, remove the beef from the pot and place on a plate for shredding.

5. Add the drained and rinsed beans to the crock pot, then stir well to combine. Re-cover the crock while you shred the beef with two forks.

6. Add the shredded beef and the cheese to the crock pot, then stir well to combine.

7. Cover and cook on HIGH for 20 mins, then serve!

Crock Pot Dijon Chicken with Mushrooms

This recipe is a renovation of a recipe we’ve been working for several years, acquired from a recipe swap online with some fellow moms. The original recipe (which we modified for our needs) relied on cream of mushroom soup and canned mushrooms. Well, that works…but only for so long. The kids seem to prefer fresh mushrooms to canned (no argument from me) and the response to the chicken itself has only ever been tepid, where the little ones are concerned.

So, when dh suggested that we make the usual recipe, I balked and asked if anyone minded if I switched things up. Thankfully, I have a patient family that’s willing to endure my experimentation. After all, we humans are learning machines and I try to incorporate what I’ve learned works (and remove what doesn’t).

As luck would have it, this overhaul worked out splendidly! The flavor factor increased exponentially, and the acceptance rate from the kids went up by quite a bit. For example, dd usually picks at her “no thank you helping” of chicken, and this time out she asked for seconds: both the first night we had the dish AND the night when we served it as leftovers. This is a very good sign. Our ds did great with the mushrooms, so this is definitely a win in my book. It also doesn’t hurt that this recipe requires almost no prep time; I purchase mushrooms pre-washed and pre-sliced to save time, and that always works wonderfully.

I will note that the Healthy Request cream soup listed below is my standard answer for “cream of” soup recipes. While you can make it with a full fat/sodium/calories soup, I choose not to – and I haven’t found that the flavor lacks at all. Also, as with many of the other crock pot recipes I’ve posted, this one can cook longer. I had this one in the crock for about 11hrs, and it wasn’t overcooked or dry. So, consider the cook times below the minimums and know that you can go longer without things going awry.


Crock Pot Dijon Chicken

Chickeny mushroomy goodness!


Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 6-8 hrs on LOW, 3-4 hrs on HIGH

Serves: 4



2 cans Campbells Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup

4 Tb dijon mustard

8 oz water

16 oz washed & sliced mushrooms

1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 breasts, approximately 6oz each)

Non-stick cooking spray


Make it Happen

1. Coat the inside of a 4qt crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, stir to combine the soup, mustard and water.

3. Place the chicken in the crock pot, then pour half of the mixture from the bowl on top of the chicken.

4. Place the mushrooms in the crock post and pour the remaining half of the mixture from the bowl on top.

5. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hrs or on HIGH for 3-4 hrs.

6. Serve immediately, over rice, butter noodles or pasta.